One day in August, I showed up early to apply for graduation (and use the printer and fax machine at work). I'd just come from an early morning group meeting with my peers. The night before, I left work on time to rush off to go to my side hustle - babysitting.
My coworker looked at my quizzically and asked me how I do it. How did I work, go to school, babysit, blog, work online (she doesn't know about my blogs), and have time to breathe? Oh, yeah, and never mind keeping that apartment clean, my relationship with the boy healthy, and having friends.
True, sometimes I'm exhausted; those days when I get up at 5:30 AM and didn't even get home until 12:30 PM after work, babysitting, and class could really throw me for a loop.
Sometimes my brain wants to party all night when my body wants to sleep, and my adrenaline from the day, week, or month's events leaves me tossing and turning in bed instead of catching those much needed Zzzz's after a crazy day.
And sometimes, I just want to give it all up. Forget about education, quit my job, sell my blog, drop of the map, curl up in a ball and merely exist.
But that's just a fantasy that I have when I'm having a bad day. And then my ambition and enthusiasm for life kicks into overdrive and you can find me doing homework on my lunch break, writing paragraphs of posts on my coffee break, Tweeting and catching up while wrangling a toddler and a baby into bed, and looking for fun post ideas while waiting in line at the grocery store on my phone.
Here are some tips as to how I really do it:
Get Good at Time Management
Poor time management is what really frazzles us. If you can't manage your time, things are going to slip to the wayside. Time management skills can help you juggle a lot of things, and do well at them.
My favorite time management tip is to steal time from activities that are otherwise fruitless.
When you are driving in your car, during your morning commute, that is some serious time wasted. What else could you be doing? Maintaining your relationships by calling your friends and catching up? Getting some chores done by making those phone calls you've been avoiding? Or even just relaxing, putting on an audio book and enjoying your time off nothingness?
Fill up that empty, useless space with something that can either be done, or will help you relax.
Take "You" Time
What I've learned the most throughout this, is that "you" time, or time that you spend doing things that you enjoy and love to do, is extremely important when you are balancing and juggling many different things.
"You" time is what really keeps you from burning out. Whether it's taking an extra long shower or settling down with a book and some tea, every day must be injected with some sort of pleasurable activity for yourself. Otherwise, it will all build up, you'll go crazy, quit your job, sell your blog, drop out of school, and curl up in a ball and just exist for awhile.
Find Times When You Have The Most Energy
I'm very energetic in the mornings - particularly on weekends. This is when I get most of my work done. Blog posts, school assignments, chores, work prep, errands, exercise, you name it, I do it on weekend mornings. This leaves my weekday evenings for the things that I either absolutely have to do on weekday evenings, or relaxing, reflecting, and rehashing my day.
Trying to force myself to do things when I have no energy with which to do them is pointless. This makes me frustrated and angry and feel hopeless, so I try to harness my energy when I have it.
Don't Wallow in Self Pity
Yes, poor you, you are so busy. Get over it. Everyone's busy. You maybe be "busier" than your average friend, but you put yourself in that position. I made this blog myself. I decided to move out in my first year of university, thereby dictating that I needed to work full-time to pay for tuition and living expenses. I decided to get my degree. I decided to take on a side hustle.
So I really don't have a right to complain.
If you are constantly thinking about how you "deserve" a break, you need to stop. This is just making you less productive. When you earn a break, you'll get a break. For now, just keep plugging away at it.
Understand That Your Limit Differs From Others
If you are a parent, that automatically sucks a HUGE amount of time from your schedule. Same goes for some other lifestyles (students, etc).
Recognize that the person over there who you may think does it ALL, has a different life.
They may not have kids. Sure, you COULD be doing yoga and taking a course and running an online business, but at what cost? Putting your kids with a babysitter for most of (what was supposed to be) their time with you?
Don't compare your life with another person's. It won't get you very far.
Also recognize that you are not a machine. Some people do better under pressure than you might. If you find yourself crumbling under the pressure, let something go. Life is too short to let it all pile on.
How do you balance work, projects, family, health, and life? Are you an overachiever?